The release is notable mainly for its almost utter lack of detail. How they managed to fill 38 pages with nothing but generalities and platitudes is a true testament to politics. Its intent is not to set out a detailed plan of action, but rather simply to convince us that the present one is solid and progressing well, and uses lots of cherry-picked statistics to achieve that end. Think of it as the PDF of a Fox News broadcast.
That being said, I want to focus on just a couple of spots that I myself found particularly disturbing. The first is this quote:
"It is not realistic to expect a fully functioning democracy, able to defeat its enemies and peacefully reconcile generational grievances, to be in place less than 3 years after Saddam was finally removed from power."
Umm, was it realistic 3 years ago, when Rumsfeld told us: "Five days or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last any longer than that..."? We never signed on for years, and wouldn't have if we knew that was the consequence of going to war. Combine this with Murtha's statement on Hardball that generals have told him it would take 25 years to prepare troops for a stable Iraq, and we have an unacceptable situation (1,000 American deaths/year X 25 years...).
The other major concern (though admittedly one we've known about for some time) is this passage from the "long term goals" section:
"An Iraq that is stable, united, peaceful, democratic, and secure..."
Sounds obvious enough, but are these goals really viable? Is a united, democratic Iraq that "is a partner in the global war on terror" a realistic goal? I think not, for reasons I ennumerated here. A more realistic goal (in fact, the inevitable conclusion to this whole snafu) would be "An Iraq that is divided, oppressive, Islamist, and wrapped around the Ayatollah's little finger."
Of course, we should not be surprised. We've been cycling through impossible goals in Iraq for several years, from findng WMDs that weren't there, to finding links to terrorists that didn't exist,...